What would C. S. Lewis say about Obamacare? The linked piece by David Theroux, with references to Lewis's essay "Is Progress Possible: Willing Slaves of the Welfare State," shows that he would have had some concerns about it. Indeed these are the kinds of concerns that conservatives have about the effort on the part of government to help people. But that is only one side of the story. Lewis never says that governmental economic assistance is bad, only that we should count its cost. The other side of the story is that he concluded, as a result of his correspondence with an American woman about her difficulties in getting health care in our country, that in spite of the hard things to say about the British single payer health care system, (a system that is, of course, far more socialistic than anything Obama has proposed) that it was, in the last analysis, a good idea.
In a letter to Mary Willis Shelburne dated 7th July 1959 (Letters, vol 3, page 1064), Lewis wrote
"What you have gone through begins to reconcile me to our Welfare State of which I have said so many hard things. 'National Health Service' with free treatment for all has its drawbacks - one being that Doctors are incessantly pestered by people who have nothing wrong with them. But it is better than leaving people to sink or swim on their own resources."
I covered this earlier, and of course one of my commentators said that Lewis just went soft in the head. My own view is that he had a balanced perspective: he could see that the British health care system was a mixed blessing, but a blessing nevertheless. I think this is a view that is shared by British conservatives today, who never propose dismantling it, just as American conservatives never say they want to do away with Medicare. Margaret Thatcher, Reagan's counterpart in Britain, didn't try to dismantle it during her administration, in spite of her own conservatism.